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==> Starting A Business Online

" The Birth of a Successful Internet Business
Part 5 of 10 -- Planning Your Website Strategy "

This article may be reprinted in your ezine or on your site in its entirety so long as the author's credits and all links remain intact.

The Birth of a Successful Internet Business
Part 5 of 10 -- Planning Your Website Strategy

By Shelley Lowery

Developing a professional website strategically designed to sell your products or services is one of the most important factors in determining your success. However, it is only the first step.

Before you begin the actual design process, you must first determine your overall strategy and design your website accordingly.

Internet marketers have basically two choices:

=> Design a content website that includes not only your products and services, but also information and resources that will be of interest to your target market.

=> Design a mini website that focuses on just one product or service, with no other content of any kind.

Although both types of sites can be effective, your success will ultimately depend on your site design and marketing strategies -- both will play a very important role.

Content oriented sites are sites that provide visitors with content such as articles, tutorials, free ebooks and resources. This type of site attracts their target audience with incentives. Their products and services are mentioned on the main page with a link to further information.

Content sites usually profit by educating their visitors. For example, a content site selling pet supplies might provide a basic tutorial to assist their visitors in learning how to groom a dog. They provide this tutorial completely free; however, the main purpose for this tutorial is to educate their visitors. And in turn, plug their products.

When you provide your visitors with quality information that teaches and informs, you are not only gaining their trust in you by sharing your expertise, but you're also building your credibility, which is very important on the Internet.

Once you've gained your visitors' trust, they will be much more apt to purchase your products or services. However, above all else, you must never abuse their trust in you. You must be completely honest with your visitors and have a sincere desire to assist them. If your sole purpose in developing your own Internet business is for financial gain, your chance of success will be minimal.

The key to using this technique effectively is to provide content that targets your potential customer. This content is used to presell your visitors through education.

Mini-sites are different from content sites, as they don't provide any content. They usually contain one or two pages and completely focus on one product or service. Basically, the site is just a sales letter for the product.

A mini-site should be neatly designed in standard HTML with no Flash or fancy plug-ins and very few graphics. There should be no banners or outside links of any kind -- nothing that will distract your visitors' attention.

The sole purpose of a mini-site is to attract highly targeted traffic. The more targeted the better. For example, if you have a website that sells a number of products, a good mini-site would focus on one specific product instead of all of the products. You could create a mini-site for each product you offer.

No matter which type of site you design, keep in mind, your website is a direct reflection of you and your business. The appearance of your website is the most important factor in determining your website's value. If your site doesn't look professional or pleasing to the eyes at first glance, its perceived value will be low. The perceived value of your website will have a great impact on your success.

Not only must your website have a professional appearance, but it must also be specifically designed to sell. Everything within your website should have one specific purpose -- getting your visitors to take action.

Every part of your website must be strategically designed. From your overall design to your sales copy -- each will play a very important role.

Your website is the most important sales tool you have. A professional website should possess all of the following:

• Your Own Domain (www.yoursite.com)
• Quality, Dependable Web Host
• Customized Email Addresses:
  - service@yoursite.com
  - support@yoursite.com
  - info@yoursite.com
  - admin@yoursite.com
• Target Your Potential Customers
• Professional Appearance
• Professional Looking Graphics
• Quality Products/Services
• Effective Sales Copy
• Easy Ordering Process
• Automated, Personalized Thank You Letters
• Customer Database
• Personalized Follow-up Letters
• Opt-in List
• Well Organized
• Easy to Navigate
• Load Quickly
• Search Engine Optimized

Take your time and do your homework prior to designing your website. Look at the entire picture and plan each step very carefully. Your website is the storefront of your business. Make it shine.

Copyright © Shelley Lowery

About the Author:
Shelley Lowery is the author of the acclaimed web design course,
Web Design Mastery. http://www.webdesignmastery.com
And, Ebook Starter - Give Your Ebooks the look and feel of a REAL book. http://www.ebookstarter.com Visit Web-Source.net to sign up for a complimentary subscription to Etips and receive a copy of the acclaimed ebook, "Killer Internet Marketing Strategies."

********** Additional References **********

241Leads.com's Lead Doubler™ - build your lists.

Stop Those ClickBank Refunds ! - reduce your refund rate.

ClickBank Vendor SuperTips - answers questions about ClickBank.

33 Days to Online Profits - step-by-step roadmap to an internet business.

Mike Chen's BizAutomator - task automator: "answer emails, design web pages, write programs, post on forums".

The Money Browser - direct to desktop stream of money making information.

Best wishes for your online success!

Stan Smith

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